Mariella Hunt

A Special Joint Review–13 LITTLE BLUE ENVELOPES and THE LAST LITTLE BLUE ENVELOPE by Maureen Johnson

Note: I finished writing this review like two weeks ago…but barely got to posting it now…doesn’t matter, my fangirlishness is still relevant! I hope you enjoy my review!

Happy August, Escapists! Mariella’s here with a special joint review. I’m not sure I’ll be able to do many of these in my lifetime, but it was fun writing this up. Here’s the pitch to 13 Little Blue Envelopes:

When Ginny receives thirteen little blue envelopes and instructions to buy a plane ticket to London, she knows something exciting is going to happen. What Ginny doesn’t know is that she will have the adventure of her life and it will change her in more ways than one. Life and love are waiting for her across the Atlantic, and the thirteen little blue envelopes are the key to finding them in this funny, romantic, heartbreaking novel.

And here is the pitch to The Last Little Blue Envelope:

Ginny Blackstone thought that the biggest adventure of her life was behind her. She spent last summer traveling around Europe, following the tasks her aunt Peg laid out in a series of letters before she died. When someone stole Ginny’s backpack—and the last little blue envelope inside—she resigned herself to never knowing how it was supposed to end.

Months later, a mysterious boy contacts Ginny from London, saying he’s found her bag. Finally, Ginny can finish what she started. But instead of ending her journey, the last letter starts a new adventure—one filled with old friends, new loves, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Ginny finds she must hold on to her wits . . . and her heart. This time, there are no instructions.

I just finished the second book to this series, and feel like it would be appropriate to do a review on both these amazing books. It’s one big, sprawling adventure and I think that the two books together were perfect for each other, drawing me into a story that threw me so many twists and turns, like a little train traveling all over the world–in two bite-sized books which had every page full of humor and action; they never dragged and most certainly didn’t get boring for even one moment.

I’m starting with the first book, 13 Little Blue Envelopes. Reading this book, I traveled to so many places–just to name a few, I went to England, France, Rome. I learned to see art with an entirely different perspective, and appreciate the little things in life better. It made my bones ache to get on a plane and seek some adventure. I think someday I will just grab a purple backpack and run off for a little while, like Ginny did. As she opened each of the envelopes, I felt anticipation deep in my soul. I had room to get into the story and wander. I shared her emotions and felt the joy and frustration as if I myself were Ginny. I rooted for her and laughed with her and lived every moment of this adventure with her.

I think my favorite part of this series had to have been the characters. Johnson paints people so differently and makes them so full of color. No two characters are the same–and they were all so human as well, in the sense that sometimes you love them and other times you absolutely hate them. Keith juggled around to earn a spot as my absolute favorite male character of all time–yet I think I wouldn’t like a person like him if we met in real life. Then in the second book things become more realistic and, although I still liked him a lot, he wasn’t my favorite character anymore.

Now that we’re creeping onto book two, The Last Little Blue Envelope… Here’s just a warning from one Escapist to another: This is book two. Do not make the mistake I did of thinking it’s the epic first book to a series, buying it, reading fifteen pages, and then realizing it is indeed a sequel. I really wish that I had known this before, and that they’d labeled it properly, because had I not read fifteen pages of this book before getting the first one I know I would have enjoyed reading the series (is that the proper word? I’m not sure if another is coming up) a whole lot more, which is saying a lot.

So. In this book Keith was knocked off my Favorite Male Character of All Time list, to be replaced by Oliver.

Oliver is Keith’s polar opposite. They have nothing in common at all. While Keith is wilder and I’d probably hide from him even though I sort of like him, Oliver is the tall, dark, and handsome villain–yet you can tell from the beginning that something isn’t right, that he’s got to have a reason for what he’s doing. While on the surface he’s almost always a jerk and I wanted to hate him, I couldn’t. I sympathized with him more, at times, than I did with Ginny.

Richard is the perfect uncle and you can’t help but like him. Ginny’s aunt Peg is the only character that I have mixed feelings about. Honestly, she is the only thing that confused me about the whole story. By the end of book two I still could not quite grasp why she sent Ginny on this glorious yet strange adventure. How did she plan the letters and their outcomes so near-perfectly? Why didn’t she contact her family once before dying?

Another thing that bugged me a little is that Ginny doesn’t call her supposedly overprotective mom once, both times she was gone to Europe. That, along with some other aspects of the story, seemed to me very unrealistic. But Johnson’s writing style drew me in anyway so I found that despite all these things, I was living and breathing this story.

Maybe I loved it because it was so unrealistic, yet none of it was impossible; it made me realize that there are crazy things in life, they do happen, and they will happen. There. I think that sums up why I loved this story so much. Embrace the crazy things in life, Escapists, and they will take you on a crazy ride that is so totally worth it!

This story is most definitely an escape to many different places. Part of my heart resides in there now. I will most definitely be rereading these books because I love Ginny’s world and I want to go back to England, France, Rome, Greece, Ireland–

Over and over again.

8/10 stars for the first book.
7/10 stars for the second book.
9/10 stars for the series as a whole.

Go read it now.


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